Letter From Basic Training – April 4, 2004


Dear Mary Beth,

…[romance – man, what a sap I was]…

After I spoke to you on the phone Saturday, me and this kid Hartley walked over to the PX. I made the right choice in the order that I did things. I had a conversation with you, and after that, with my mom and dad. Most everyone else ran to the PX, stuffed themselves on candy and junk food (we weren’t allowed to take any back with us) and then tried to get back and use the phone – but there were huge lines then.

When I got to the PX, the lines were huge and it took me 15 minutes just to get to the ATM. But I didn’t have to spend any of that money, because everyone else had bought all this sh*t and couldn’t finish it. I had so much junk food, my head felt like it was going to explode. It may not seem like much, but when it’s been a month, a little goes a long way: I had half a bag of gummi worms, two giant handfuls of Skittles, Reese’s Pieces, a Coke, a milkshake (banana) and Doritos, and a big Yorks Peppermint Patty. Everyone was just trying to get rid of all the stuff they bought. I tried to use the internet there, I was going to email you, but that place closes before the rest of the PX. When I got back to the barracks, we got pizza and powerade. We had to chip in for it and we each got our own pizza. I had sausage, the other choices were pepperoni and cheese. I ate all but one slice and was stuffed. It wasn’t even that good, it was just the point of having it. [Pizza down South typically sucks. Up North, Domino’s is a last resort, like McDonalds for hamburgers – you know it’s going to be adequate, but it’s not a “gourmet” burger. Down South – get Domino’s] Everyone was so hyper that people were yelling and carrying on, since now there are much less drill sergeants around. Two fights almost started. I fell asleep during the movie while I was laying on the floor. When they made us shut the lights off at 10, people actually were so tired that they went right to sleep, the first time I’ve ever seen that happen.

We had two fire drills in the middle of the night, but only had to go outside for one. We have to carry out the full gun racks when there’s a fire drill. They are heavy, and when two hundred and twenty guys run downstairs at full speed, it is always chaos. In the morning we

[missing page?]

[romantic stuff and discussion of my old personal training clients/coworkers]

As far as packages, there were a few minor things I needed that I couldn’t get a hold of here, like scotch tape, lotion [because I had dry skin on my face from shaving all the time – you perverts] and dental floss, but I had my parents send me those. There is not much else, and they make us open them in front of them, so we can’t have anything at all good. I wish I could have books, cards, newspapers, magazines and a laptop, but no luck. However stuff here is getting better and better. We should be able to use the phone today again, and I am able to write this letter in a regular notebook without having to crumble and smuggle it in my IET book.

[more romantic stuff – what a loser]

“The 39 Steps” is good, and so is “The Rum Diary.” I think you will like both of them [books].

[blah blah blah and trying to persuade her to send me naked pictures]

It’s lights out now, Sunday night, and we had a really good time today, doing mostly nothing. Me, Layton and this kid named Topping, who was one of the guys I met up with at the Washington airport decided to give this guy Hyatt a “blanket party” like in Full Metal Jacket. Hyatt used to be in a frat and is from Arizona and Topping is a wrestler with cauliflower ear. Hyatt is a friend of ours, so we didn’t use soap in the towel. They threw the blanket over him and I whaled him with the towel a few times. He was sitting up reading, which made it even funnier. We have a lot of juvenile humor. I can’t remember if I told you about the thing where you make a little circle with your forefinger and thumb and hold it below the person’s waist and say something like “hey your canteen is broken,” and then when they look, punch them in the arm. I know most people stop doing that in fourth grade, but it is classic humor here.

[hehehe that’s still bringing back fond memories of guys “making the circle” up in front of the platoon during combatives practice, or while getting an award. I preferred that game to “two for flinching” which I was terrible at and seemed to train you to have zero reaction speed]


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